Sunday, June 6, 2004

President Reagan.

President Reagan defined my life in many ways. It is actually quite incredible as I contemplate it. His first election was my first opportunity to vote in a presidential election. I was a republican before him (but because my father was); I was a conservative because of him.

During my undergraduate studies, I recall the liberal minds around me. A student and teacher discussed how "our generation" would be the first to have to accept that they would have less than the generation before them. I responded by doing a paper and presentation on supply-side economics and how it would move the economy to new heights. The teacher told me I did a good job, but was misinformed and wrong.

I remember walking through the nearly empty student lounge when the television broke to a special report and told us that Reagan had been shot. I sat down and can't recall much of anything else. It was devastating to me then, and still provokes a feeling of dis-ease today.

I was an Economics/Finance major and didn't care what field or industry I went into. I wound up getting a job in the defense industry - because Reagan was rebuilding it and jobs were aplenty. That was 1981. More promise of rebuilding than actually doing so. But two years later, instead of being awarded one helicopter contract, we got four. My company had so much work they moved me from New York to California to help with the growth.

If not for that move, I would not have held the jobs I held, would not have gone to law school and subsequently practiced, would not be teaching it now. I would not have met the people that make up my life as it is now.

I was at Yankee Stadium yesterday. I knew Reagan had taken a turn for the worse earlier in the day. At the 7th inning stretch, they announced his passing, then played Kate Smith's version of "God Bless America." I was numb. It is still bringing tears.

The decade of my 20s defined me. In my 30s and 40s, I have be refining who I am - but not re-defining. President Reagan's impact on my life just can't be overstated. My dad died two years ago; I miss him. I'll miss President Reagan acutely two years from now.

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